Top 5 Jewish Grammar Mistakes, Part 2| April 25, 2018
Have with him?
You have with him? Umm, say what? One of the most bizarre sentence constructions to creep into the Jewish world is this questionable substitution for asking whether you are close or have a relationship with someone. Maybe we need to become more comfortable expressing our emotions, but this phrase just seems like a needlessly circuitous way for avoiding the word “close,” “friendship,” or “relationship.”
We literally have a major issue with the use of the word literally. To be fair, this may not be a uniquely Jewish mistake, but we seem to be struggling more than others. Just because you’re a sophisticate and you want to avoid using the word “mamish” every time you communicate, you still may want to reconsider using this word in literally every one of your sentences.
Jews have always had a unique way they talk about coffee. We love to offer “a coffee” or “a tea.” What’s that “a” doing for business in that sentence — certainly doesn’t seem like it’s something you can make a living from. Next time you have guests, just offer “some coffee” or, if you are feeling brave, “would you like coffee?”
“That sefer costed me $20!” Oh, did it? How much did they charge you for that “ed” appendage — because it’s worthless. The past tense of cost is also cost. Now, before the grammar nerds start attacking me with their weaponized No. 2 pencils, there is a word “costed,” but it refers to determining the price of an item. Pencils down, please.
Talking in Learning
Just to be clear, I am not calling for the abolition of the phrase “talking in learning,” a clear derivation of the Yiddish “redn in lernen.” I do, however, think we need to be honest with ourselves and admit that this is not a proper English phrase. Carry on “talking in learning.” I certainly will. But don’t be surprised when someone outside of the world of the beis medrash doesn’t understanding what you’re talking in about.
Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 707)
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